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This article was written by Sandra Kynes on November 28, 2006
posted under Lughnasadh
Items needed for this ritual include: Six pieces of fruit, vegetables or a combination placed in a basket near the altar; Chalice; A wand or athame can be used to cast the circle; Honey mead or other honeyed drink such as chamomile tea; Cornbread on a plate; A small cup filled with grapes.
In our modern world it is easy to forget how important a successful harvest was to our ancestors. They had cause for celebration: A good harvest meant survival in the dark, cold months ahead. A poor or bad harvest signaled the beginning of difficult times. Even though we can nip out to the supermarket whenever we need something, this is a good time to give thought to where our food originates and reverence for the cycles that produce it. Better still, tending a garden keeps us in touch with the Goddess and her bounty. Even if your garden consists only of tomatoes or herbs grown in pots on a balcony, these taste all the sweeter for having been nurtured by your own hands.
Tonight’s circle is created to give thanks for what the Lord and Lady provide. The late summer harvest is a time of transformation; a time to take stock of how the year has unfolded thus far, what you h ave done, and what you are ready to reap. The fruits of the seeds planted in the spring (physical and spiritual) are ready to be gathered in.
With your athame or wand, walk the perimeter of your circle saying:
A circle is a symbol of completeness and continuity. It is the Wheel of the Year; the cycle of life. Now is high summer. The days are hot and the nights sultry. The first harvest is taken in and I rejoice in the bounty that is provided.
When you arrive back where you started, say:
With this circle sacred space has been created where the realms touch.
Take a piece of fruit or vegetable from the basket. Before speaking, walk to the edge of the circle and raise it in both hands. For the Lord and Lady, make evocations standing in front of the altar. After speaking, place the fruit/vegetable on the altar.
Come ye spirits of North, powers of Earth, bring the beauty of ripe, golden fields. Be with me this night.
Come ye spirits of East, powers of Air, bring the cool morning breeze. Be with me this night.
Come ye spirits of South, powers of Fire, bring the hot, sultry summer afternoons. Be with me this night.
Come ye spirits of West, powers of Water, bring the warm rains that nourish the fields. Be with me this night.
Lord Lugh, Lord of the Harvest, the bounty of your seed ripens in the fields and orchards. Be with me this night.
Lady Gaia, Mother of All, your great swollen belly provides abundance. Nourish me, protect me. Be with me this night.
At the altar, take up the chalice and the athame. Slowly lower the athame into the raised chalice to symbolize the Great Rite, saying:
This is Lughnasadh, the time of Lugh. This is the time of the first harvest. I celebrate the bounty of Gaia and Lugh.
Fill the chalice with honey mead. Before taking a bite of cornbread and a sip of mead say, respectively:
I share the bounty of the Lord. I share the bounty of the Lady.
Think of what began earlier in the year, has grown, and is ready to come to fruition in your life. Take the cup of grapes and hold it between your hands. Think of what you want to reap in this time of harvest. When you have it firmly in your mind, eat one of the grapes, and then place one on the altar as an offering. After you have done that, you may want to move about your circle and voice what you wish for others. If you know someone is having difficulty, wish that it is resolved. You may also want to send loving energy to the earth and out into the world.
To add energy to your wishes, drum, dance and chant:
With my circle I send a gift to you,
May the Goddess grant your wishes true.
When the energy has reached its peak slow the chanting, bring it to a halt, and then say:
May my wishes and intentions be carried above and below.
Use your usual method for grounding and centering or playback a tape of the one in the group ritual.
Face each direction respectively from that point in your circle. Stand in front of the altar for the Lord and Lady.
Lady Gaia, thank you for your blessing and presence in my circle this night. Stay if you will; go if you must. I bid thee farewell.
Lord Lugh, Lord of the Harvest, thank you for your blessing and presence in my circle this night. Stay if you will; go if you must. I bid thee farewell.
Spirits of West, powers of Water, thank you for your blessing and presence in my circle this night. Stay if you will; go if you must. I bid thee farewell.
Spirits of South, powers of Fire, thank you for your blessing and presence in my circle this night. Stay if you will; go if you must. I bid thee farewell.
Spirits of East, powers of Air, thank you for your blessing and presence in my circle this night. Stay if you will; go if you must. I bid thee farewell.
Spirits of North, powers of Earth, thank you for your blessing and presence in my circle this night. Stay if you will; go if you must. I bid thee farewell.
As all good things must sometimes end,
Go forth with the love the Goddess sends.
For if your heart is always true,
This circle will come back to you.
In my new book, How to Survive Mercury Retrograde (And Venus & Mars, Too), I emphasize that a retrograde planet can be used productively. A planet does not have to be moving in direct motion to get positive results. The backward motion of a planet through an astrological sign gets us to be more reflective and does, to some degree, slow down... read this article